Android trails behind iOS in revenue, has twice the downloads

JC Torres - Apr 19, 2016, 8:40pm CDT
Android trails behind iOS in revenue, has twice the downloads

The app platform wars has never really disappeared. Although we do see more developers targeting both iOS and Android now, parity in terms of the number and quality of apps is far from becoming reality. And App Annie’s 2016 first quarter market index hints at why that will remain the status quo for some time. App downloads on Google Play Store have left the Apple App Store in the dust with almost double the number. However, the iOS store generates nearly double the revenue of its Android counterpart.

Some say “follow the money” and if that’s the case, these figures could very well explain why app developers continue to give iOS preference, sometimes even exclusivity. Those high downloads could make for great visibility and publicity, but if you’re in the mobile app business for the long run, you’ll also need to be concerned with revenues. App Annie says that iOS’ revenue more than doubled, 2.2 times to be exact, this quarter compared to the same period in 2015.

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But where are all those revenues coming from. Both surprisingly and not, from in-app purchases in mobile games. Those dreaded and much frowned on IAPs prove to be quite the strong money sink. Whether those purchases are intentional or, like any parent’s nightmare, accidental, probably matters less in terms of statistics. That said, there is also a new growing source of revenue for mobile apps. Entertainment and music apps, practically video and music streaming, are also on the rise, and profits are sourced from subscriptions instead of one-off IAPs.

In terms of market spread, The US still remains the top dog, but China has just overtaken Japan in terms of app revenues. That means that this mobile market darling is now #2 in generating mobile app profits, and we’re likely to see even stronger movements in the days to come. The interesting numbers in terms of downloads also reveal how emerging markets like Vietnam, Argentina, and Egypt are on the rise, at least for Google Play Store. This is has primarily been thanks to the availability of Google Play Games in those markets.

Android fans probably hate hearing it but the numbers are telling. It is, however, a sort of vicious cycle. Some would point out how Android users are less inclined to pay for apps than their iOS counterparts, which, in turn, provides less incentives for developers to make paid apps, some of which are really very good, available on Android. Then again, Android users are also probably be willing to pay for high quality apps if they are actually made available to them in the first place.

SOURCE: App Annie


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9 Responses to Android trails behind iOS in revenue, has twice the downloads

  1. So an average iOS App generates 4x the revenue of the average Android App. That’s quite the smackdown.

      • I think that the article makes it clear that most of the revenue generated by iOS apps is from freemium (aka free to get with in app purchases) games.

  2. “The app platform wars has never really disappeared.” Funny, I thought it had until I saw this article…

    ” Then again, Android users are also probably be willing to pay for high quality apps if they are actually made available to them in the first place.” Like what? You wouldn’t be talking about customization apps/widgets/tools and other apps you can’t get on ios would you?

    I’m willing to bet only a handful of apps are generating 90% of the IAPs. Does this also cover ad revenue? Be interesting to know if those are included. If not, it could REALLY throw the scale. Maaaybe enough for you to change your line to… “Apple fans probably hate hearing it but the numbers are telling.”

  3. The main difference is that most of the free apps on Android actually cost money on iOS. I know which I prefer and it ain’t the Apple one.

    • That is Google’s choice… Google did not like being being held accountable to local laws (however draconian they may be) and they packed their bags and left.

      Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and others understand that every country is sovereign and has its own laws… one does not have to like them, but one has to adhere to them to do business in that country.

      That is one of the reasons that Google is constantly under antitrust investigation in Europe, while platforms like Apple’s which are completely closed and more restrictive to potential competitors appear to get a pass… Google cannot be a law unto itself, and if it does not like European law, it can do what it did in China: pack its bags and leave.

      If Google believes that the only law that applies to it is US law, it may find itself doing business only in the US one day.

      • Apart that I still trying to grasp what has to do your rant with the fact that perhaps one of the keys about the difference in revenue is that one of the platforms doesn’t do business in the biggest market your rant is totally wrong.

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